Marooned in the Arctic. Diary of the Dominion Explorers Expedition to the Arctic August to December 1929.
Seller ID: 2230
[Toronto: n.p., c. 1931]. First edition (pp. frontis, 71). Octavo (23 cm) in maroon (!) cloth, gilt titles to cover; illustrated with a map of the expedition’s route and five photo plates, including frontis photo of MacAlpine. In August 1929 the eight-man expedition set out in two aircraft on a 20,000 miles aerial expedition across the Canadian Arctic, ostensibly to locate promising ore deposits of various sorts, planning to return to Winnipeg 20th September. Pearce, editor of The Northern Miner, accompanied the expedition as a travelling secretary. This is his journal covering the six weeks or so during which the party found itself stranded, awaiting the return of the ice so they could trek sixty miles to safety at Cambridge Bay. In the meantime, the largest aerial search in the history of the Canadian Arctic was launched in search of MacAlpine’s party and not without the predictable mishaps associated with flying flimsy aircraft in the season between open water and ice-up. MacAlpine’s expedition began unpromisingly enough. At Churchill their Fokker Universal aircraft dragged its anchor and was swept out into Hudson Bay by the tide where it slowly sank. (It is a measure of the faith of MacAlpine’s financial backers that he could order a replacement aircraft by radioing Western Canada Airways at Winnipeg-- a conversation best interpreted and performed by Bob Newhart). Neither did the adventure end all that happily: while no one in MacAlpine’s party was seriously injured, thanks in no small measure to the efforts of several Inuit families, six planes were lost in the recovery effort and the stock market crashed, rendering investment potential entirely hypothetical. The Edmonton Journal published a retrospective article on the thirtieth anniversary of the party’s safe arrival at the HBC post at Cambridge Bay on 3 November 1929. A fine copy. Scarce.
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